We are so proud of BF Reed, who was recently featured in American Art Collector. We wanted to dig a little deeper into her art, so we decided to ask her a few questions. Thanks BF!
1. I’m really curious about how you found your way to representation at New Elements Gallery. It appears you’ve dabbled in an array of careers and professional paths, all the while keeping art at the forefront of your interests.
I have had the great fortune to have been accepted into many of the Wilmington Art Associations’ Juried Spring Art Shows with the added privilege of usually earning an award. These events lead to the marvelous opportunity at New Elements Gallery.
Dabbled? I moved around a fair bit through my life which generated the necessity to find or create new employment paths. As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are”. With that said, let’s go on to say that since I was an artist, I looked for and filled a variety of creative vocations. My art and I are richer for it.
2. How do you feel your previous endeavors (from graphic design to medical illustrator to educator) have influenced and affected your work now?
We are all influenced by our experiences. I happen to have a deep reservoir from which to dip. There is a quickness of thought that comes from graphic design that is always helpful to get a project going. There is an attention to detail that comes from the medical illustration that I find useful in my observations for my painting. Working as an educator, I introduced students to a wide variety of media which kept me familiar and facile with these methods. I suspect that this is a part of why I work in more than one medium now. In fact, I do pastels now because once while explaining the application of the medium of a student, I fell in love and immediately bought my first set of professional pastels and have been doing them since.
3. You have a breathtaking range of styles. I was first drawn to your work for the way you’re able to create realism and abstraction so convincingly. I’d love to know more about your process in creating these two distinct styles and how they differ. Is there a time when you feel more drawn to one than the other?
I am so glad that I get to create in this lifetime. I am drawn to a variety of things with mostly the feeling that there is not enough time to create it all. So often when working through a realistic scene I become aware of patterns and shapes embedded in these scenes that desire to exist on their own. I am obligated to help them do so.
I usually have a few paintings going at the same time. Usually both abstract and realism. I work on one until I get to a stopping point. That is a point where I don’t know what to do next. I need to leave it and think. I will usually work on one of the others that is in progress while the one that has momentarily stymied me just simmers in the background of my mind.
4. Congratulations on your recent feature in American Art Collector! In the Artist Focus, you talk about how light interacting with your subject matter can create nuance and details. How do you find the perfect balance of light and shadow? Do you always work from a physical reference, or do you ever work en plein air?
Ah, light! It beckons and entices many artists! It defines the form while also influencing and instructing so much of our mood and thoughts. Looking for the “perfect” balance is the quest!
I rarely work en plein air, though I do understand that there is so much to be gained from that experience.
5. What is one thing you wish you could have told your younger self about where your artistic life and journey would take you? What advice would you share?
I am appreciative that my younger self stayed the course. When presented with obstacles that life brings, she always remembered that she was an artist. I would ask her to sketch more. And when she heard about APPLE to invest!
6. What are you working on next?
What is next? That is always the question, isn’t it? There are too many things to list. I will simplify it to say I am looking for a depth of color in my pastels and am considering making my abstracts more 3 dimensional. Stay tuned!
Interview by Abby Logue
About The Author: Miriam Oehrlein
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